News

PM flies in to fire disaster zone to meet with victims

FOR a few frightening hours, it looked as though flames were going to breach containment lines protecting Coonabarabran on Thursday but by late morning, firefighters reassured residents their town would be safe for another day.

It was a different story for families living on the outskirts of town and near the Warrumbungle National Park where 49 properties have now been confirmed lost.

Already, farmers have confirmed more than 5000 stock are dead and 110 sheds destroyed.

Heavy smoke is preventing firefighters from accessing remote areas and NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the damage bill was expected to rise significantly in coming days.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard flew into the heart of the disaster zone on Thursday to oversee fire co-ordination and meet with those who had lost everything.

She bought with her news that families in the Coonamble, Gilgandra and Warrumbungle regions who had been impacted by the fires were eligible for immediate disaster relief payments.

Families can claim payments of $1000 for each adult and $400 for each child.

Tax deductible status will be given to all relief funds established to help families in the Coonabarabran region.

An evacuation centre at the Coonabarabran Bowling Club will remain open 24 hours as conditions deteriorate from Friday.

The 45,000ha bush fire in the Warrumbungle National Park west of Coonabarabran remains the biggest threat.

A base camp has been set up at the Coonabarabran Racecourse for about 300 firefighters who have travelled from other areas to help. Air conditioned accommodation has been provided for the volunteers and last night alone, the community had supplied 300 steaks, 250 lamb chops, 800 sausages, 300 loaves of bread and 2700 eggs to the camp kitchen.

A total fire ban will be in place across most of the state on Friday as temperatures in some regions rise above 40degrees.

A map of affected areas is available at rfs.nsw.gov.au.

Disaster relief claims can be lodged at humanservices.gov.au/disaster of by calling 180 22 66.

More information on assistance can be found at disasterassist.gov.au.

Topics:  coonabarabran, disaster, fire, julia gillard




Woman charged for car-jacking assault released on bail hours earlier, court heard

Juanita Caston

27-year-old charged for assaulting 48-year-old woman on Monday night

Three cars worth $140,000 land man in court, jail

Neville Aaron Voss

Man used aunt's signature to purchase $140,000 woth of cars

Queensland hospitals respond to $10M payout

Jamie Manuele (centre) flanked by his mother Daphne Manuele (left) and partner Cara and son Jesse-James (4) at Rockhampton Hospital.    Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin

Rockhampton Hospital responds to $10 million settlement to patient

Latest deals and offers

Cyndi Lauper opens up about mother's dementia

Cyndi Lauper says her mother Catrine has "a little dementia".

Lindsay Lohan 'calls off engagement'

Lohan reportedly called off her engagement to Russian millionaire

Tackling depression through song and story

BUSKER: Brian Musch. Photo: Bec Cawthorne

Giving back through song and speech

Rob Kardashian 'neglected' by Blac Chyna

Friends say they are now 'back in love'

Isla Fisher: I don't like talking about my private life

Isla Fisher shut down TV hosts when they asked about her husband

Mariah Carey: I 'can't believe' Prince has gone

'Prince was one of the best people I've met'

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Iconic Denison St building sold for close to $1M

The Swan Hotel building in Denison St.

ONE of Rockhampton’s most iconic buildings has been sold

Unique Rockhampton bar hits the market

HOT PROPERTY: Cuban themed bar Chango Chango is up for sale.

Popular Rocky bar hits the market.

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd